The National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is featuring early stage investigators. My post on the OBSSR Connector Blog highlights the benefits of social relationships including being partnered or staying connected with neighbors for recovery from severe mobility limitation (i.e., difficulty walking one block or shorter distances). One of the more interesting findings underscores the health-promoting potential of giving unpaid help to friends and family. Older adults who reported helping their friends and family were more likely to recover from severe mobility limitation, controlling for a multitude of social and health risk factors.
This research suggests that older adults with disability may be an untapped resource for communities–encouraging older adults to provide aid to those in need may prove to be mutually beneficial. To see this idea in action, watch “What happens when a nursing home and a day care center share a roof?” from PBS Newshour.